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Fear aggression in dogs – what you need to know

Dogs Love Us More

Dogs are our favorite pets and they are man’s best friends for a reason. They are loyal, loving, playful and intelligent – all qualities that make them near and dear to our hearts. It needs to be remembered, however, that they are still living, feeling beings. And as such, they can experience unpleasant emotions and be subjected to trauma. And just as humans, they can be scarred by these things. One example of such scarring is fear aggression in dogs.

A lot of dog owners misunderstand or underestimate fear aggression in dogs. And a lot of them are ill-equipped to deal with it.

So, to help you out, let’s take a quick look at fear aggression in dogs:

  • It’s one of several types of dog aggression, together with Dominance, Territorial, Predatory, Possessive, Play, and Maternal aggressions.
  • When getting a dog, look at their history – fear aggression is often due to past maltreatment.
  • Fear aggression is one of the strongest types of dog aggression.
  • Doggy fear is often unjustified. Dogs are smart but they are not geniuses. Often times a dog can get scared to the point of aggression by completely harmless things. Owners need to have firm and stable control over their dogs in such situations.
  • Dogs know to be scared by certain items. Thanks to their time around humans, most dogs have strong fear instincts against man-made objects such as knives and guns, even if they’ve never been hurt by them.
  • Fear aggression has different physical cues than other types of aggression. While dominance aggression is visible through the dog’s straight and proud posture, a dog with fear aggression will have its tail between its legs, its ears back and low, and head – down to the ground.
  • Never touch a fearful dog by the paws.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • When a dog is overcome by fear aggression, it’s most of all afraid of human hands.
  • Maternal aggression is a sub-type of fear aggression – and it’s one of the strongest types of fear aggression.
  • Fear aggression can be treated and “cured” but it’s a complicated process that’s best left to professionals. It involves a lot of counter-reflexes training and counter conditioning. If your dog is not just fearful but leans toward fear aggression, contact a dog trainer immediately. Organizations such as The Association of Professional Dog Trainers can be of great help if contacted soon enough.
Dogs Love Us More